Prepare for High Skill, High Pay Jobs | ACTC

Prepare for High Skill, High Pay Jobs

Spring semester is a good time to get started on a high-skill program at Ashland Community and Technical College. ACTC offers programs in high-demand, high paying fields that can help area residents survive and thrive through economic downturns and upswings.

Even though good jobs increasingly require post-high school training, many don't require a four-year degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Top-paying occupations that don't require a Bachelors Degree include sales, education, law enforcement, construction, administration and transportation, as well as management and supervisory jobs.

Government statistics show that higher education not only helps people get jobs but also helps them keep jobs during times of recession. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) has defined some of the high-wage, high-growth programs offered at ACTC and the other KCTCS colleges.
These programs, with the 2010 average hourly wage for those working in the field, include: Carpenters - $17.16, Computer Support Specialists - $19.31, Electricians - $20.63, HVAC Mechanics and Installers - $18.04, Police amp; Sheriffs Patrol Officers - $18.59, Registered Nurses -$28.19 and Respiratory Therapists - $21.62.

Wages are from the KY Occupational Outlook to 2018. Starting salaries will be lower than average, but persistence in the field will pay off.

Spring classes begin January 9, and January 2 is the application deadline. New students must complete the admission process before registering, and application forms are on the web at: For questions about applications, call the Admissions Office, 606-326-2000.

Several of ACTCs industrial and construction-related programs are described below.

IT Online or On Campus

Network administrators design, set-up, maintain and expand networked computer systems, and these skills are in demand, according to the Kentucky Education Cabinet, Department for Workforce Investment.
For occupations requiring an associate degree or postsecondary education, Computer Support Specialists are in the top ten Kentucky occupations with the most annual job openings to 2114. Computer Support Specialists are also among the highest paid occupations in that category.

ACTCs Information Technology (IT) program offers a Network Administration degree two ways entirely online and in traditional classrooms.

The Associate in Applied Science Degree program combines technical IT courses with general education courses and offers a choice of Microsoft or Cisco networking options.

Students who complete the degree automatically earn certificates in A+, IT Fundamentals, and either Cisco Certified Network Associate or Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator. These are the industry standards that employers look for when seeking potential IT professionals.

Students who want to build job qualifications a few courses at a time can start with A+ certification, add courses for a certificate in Information Technology Fundamentals, and then add general education courses and Cisco or Microsoft networking courses for the degree.

Associate degree graduates may transfer to four-year colleges or universities for online or on campus degrees. ACTC has 2+2 transfer options for online bachelors degrees with Western Kentucky University and Murray State University.

For more information on Information Technology degrees and options, contact David Childress, ACTC Associate Professor and IT Program Coordinator, at 606-326-2004 or email:

Construction Technology

Construction Technology provides an opportunity for people to become part of the largest industry in the world, said Chuck Lanthorn, program coordinator. There are more than seven million construction employees in the country and nearly two million more who are self-employed, according to Lanthorn.

"There are countless opportunities for employment and promotion, and opportunities to own your own firm are better in construction than any other industry, Lanthorn said.

ACTC's program covers residential and light commercial construction applications. Residential construction involves the construction and renovation of homes. Commercial construction involves the construction of projects like office buildings, schools, hospitals and shopping malls.

Students can choose a Construction Carpenter diploma or six certificates: Carpenter Helper, Construction Forms Helper, Residential Carpenter, Residential Roofer, Residential Site Layout Assistant and Rough Carpenter.

Hands-on learning is emphasized in every aspect of construction. Subjects include blueprint reading, building site layout procedures, foundation systems, light framing construction methods, exterior and interior finish systems, concrete forming systems and construction safety.

The program is accredited by the Associated General Contractors of America. For information on enrolling in spring classes, contact Lanthorn at 606-326-2474 or email:

Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice (CJ) Program offers several options for people seeking entry-level jobs as well as current employees who wish to add to their skills. Choices include associate degrees and certificates in corrections, criminal justice, law enforcement and security/loss prevention as well as certificates in computer forensics and core fundamentals.

Nationwide, jobs for detectives and criminal investigators will increase 17% from 2008 to 2018 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is expected to grow 9% for correctional officers, 14% for security guards, 10% for police and 22% for private detectives and investigators.

Average hourly wages in 2010 according to the Kentucky Occupational Outlook were $18.59 for police and sheriffs patrol officers and $27.56 for detectives and criminal investigators.

The Corrections Option focuses on the operations of prisons and jails, juvenile justice, probation and other aspects of the corrections system.

The Criminal Justice Option provides an overview of corrections, juvenile justice, security and police operations, procedures and administration.

The Law Enforcement Option focuses on theory, principles and techniques used by law enforcement agencies and police units.

The Security Loss Protection Option includes systems and issues related to asset protection and physical security.

Nearly all Criminal justice courses are offered in the evenings or online so make access easier for working students.

For information on the Criminal Justice Program, email Professor O'Pell at:

Electrical Technology

Graduates of ACTCs Electrical Technology Program work for just about every major industry in the area, according to Harold E. Henry, Associate Professor and program coordinator.

"Because our students can find jobs close to home, we believe that we are serving both individuals who seek skills for employment and businesses who seek qualified employees," Henry said.

Students can prepare for entry-level positions in the building trades or industrial plants by completing either an Industrial Electrician diploma or a certificate for Residential Electrician, Electrician Apprentice or Electrician.

Graduates have been employed in the Tri-State by AK Steel, Steel of WV, CSX, Calgon Carbon, American Electric Power, N&S Railroad, IBEW Local 575 at Portsmouth Ohio, Local 317 in Huntington WV, and local contractors such as AAA Electric, JMK Electric, Code Electric and Prichard Electric.

Electrical Technology focuses on electrical theory and practical applications of that theory. Laboratory and classroom instruction focus on electric code, motor controls and residential wiring.

"We teach safety in each aspect of installation, testing, maintenance and repair," said Rickey Collier, Associate Professor. Students are properly trained to do all electrical work in accordance with the National Electrical Code (NEC).

For more information on the Electricity Program, contact Henry at 606-326-2476, email: or Collier at 606-326-2467 or email:

Enroll Now

Spring classes start January 9, and January 2 is the application deadline. Apply Online or call the Admissions Office, 606-326-2000.